I recently visited the Serbian Orthodox Church of St. Sava in West London. This church is one of several Serbian Orthodox churches in Great Britain. It is under the auspices of the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade and belongs to the Anglo-Scandinavian diocese, headed by Bishop Dositej.
Most Serbs settled in London after W.W. II, who were soldiers and allies of Britain. A huge influx was evident after the recent war in Yugoslavia. Currently it is estimated that some 40 thousand Serbs live in the British capital, including the surrounding areas.
Coming back to the church, it was built in 1903. It was originally an Anglican Church dedicated to Saint Columba. It was consecrated as an Orthodox Church in 1952. The building is very spacious (as seen through the pictures). It has a modest brick interior, decorated with beautiful frescoes, which are copies of works from the walls of Serbian monasteries dating back to the 13th century from the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. What stands out is the Iconostasis, made in carved walnut and richly decorated with magnificent icons. What is also weird for me (from a Greek Orthodox view) is that the church does not have chairs, although they did have some on the sides.
In front of the altar are two thrones, one for the bishop and the other for the Serbian royal family, who where in the past exiled in London. Even Queen Elizabeth II sat there in July 1957, where the baptism of Maria Tatiana, daughter of Prince Andrew of Yugoslavia took place.
A Sunday school exists there where students of all ages learn the Serbian language, history and theology. The church, together with the surrounding buildings are regularly visited by local schools in order to learn about Orthodoxy and Serbian culture. It is evidently a lively community and a centre for Serbian Orthodoxy. For those who do not know where it is located the address is: 89 Lancaster Road, W11 1QQ.